Step Five B2.2 READING & TRAINING. Mary Shelley. Frankenstein. audio

Step Five B2.2 READING & TRAINING audio Mary Shelley Frankenstein CD Mary Shelley Frankenstein Retold by Maud Jackson Activities, dossiers a...
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Step Five B2.2



Mary Shelley



Mary Shelley

Frankenstein Retold by

Maud Jackson

Activities, dossiers and introduction by Illustrated by

Robert Hill

Gianni De Conno

Editor: Robert Hill Design and art direction: Nadia Maestri Computer graphics: Simona Corniola Picture research: Laura Lagomarsino © 2008

Black Cat Publishing, an imprint of Cideb Editrice, Genoa, Canterbury

First edition: March 2008 Picture credits: Cideb Archive; By courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery, London: 4; Mary Evans Picture Library: 8, 136; PARAMOUNT PICTURES/Album: 37, 120; TRI STAR PICTURES/APPLEBY, DAVID/Album: 50, 85; U.F.A / Album: 53; © Bettmann/CORBIS: 54, 84; Aquarius Collection: 67, 119; 20TH CENTURY FOX / Album: 87; Columbia/Hammer: 123; De Agostini Picture Library: 135. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the written permission of the publisher. We would be happy to receive your comments and suggestions, and give you any other information concerning our material. [email protected]

TEXTBOOKS AND TEACHING MATERIALS The quality of the publisher’s design, production and sales processes has been certified to the standard of UNI EN ISO 9001

ISBN 978-88-530-0838-1 ISBN 978-88-530-0837-4

Book Book + CD

Printed in Italy by Litoprint, Genoa

Contents The Life of Mary Shelley The Making of Frankenstein



Walton’s Narrative



Frankenstein’s Narrative



Frankenstein’s Narrative



The Creature’s Narrative



The Creature’s Narrative



Frankenstein’s Narrative



Frankenstein’s Narrative



Walton’s Narrative





Gothic Science Fiction Monsters and Madmen Frankenstein on Film Romantic Landscapes



36 52 84 118 134 87, 123, 136

17, 30, 46, 63, 79, 96, 113, 131


FCE Cambridge Esol FCE style-activities

137 19, 22, 32, 34, 46, 51, 65, 66, 96, 114


Trinity-style activities (Grade 8)

35, 66, 100

These symbols indicate the beginning and the end of the parts of the story that are recorded

Mary Shelley, painted in 1840 at the age of 43 by the English artist Richard Rothwell (1800-68).

The Life of Mary Shelley The author of Frankenstein was born in London in 1797. Her parents were Mary Wollstonecraft and William Godwin, two of the most famous radical thinkers of the day. Godwin was a social philosopher, author of An Enquiry Concerning Political Justice (1793), and Wollstonecraft was a feminist, author of A Vindication of the Rights of Women (1792), which attacked contemporary ideas that men were superior and demanded equal education for women. Godwin and Wollstonecraft got married and had Mary in the same year, 1797, but Mary’s mother got an infection during childbirth and died just a few days later. Godwin got married again four years later, to Mary Clairmont, a widow with two young children of her own. Mrs Clairmont didn’t get on well with Mary, and ensured that her own daughter, Jane, went to school while Mary did not. Nevertheless, Mary received an excellent education from her father. He also gave her access to his extensive library, encouraged her to


write stories and allowed her to be present at the conversations he had with many of the leading intellectuals and poets of the day. One of the young poets who visited Godwin was Percy Bysshe Shelley, who was five years older than Mary. Shelley’s relationship with his wife, Harriet, was failing, and he and Mary fell in love and ran away to France together in 1814, taking Jane Clairmont with them. The next year, back in England, Mary gave birth to a baby girl, who died only a few weeks later. Shelley, Mary and Jane spent the summer of 1816 with Lord Byron on Lake Geneva in Switzerland, where Mary began writing Frankenstein. Later the same year, Shelley’s wife committed suicide, and Shelley and Mary, by now back in England, immediately got married. In 1818, the same year as the publication of Frankenstein, money problems and ill health forced Shelley to leave for Italy with Mary and Jane. For the next four years they travelled constantly in Italy, living briefly in Lucca, Venice, Naples, Rome, Florence and Pisa. Mary lost two more babies, which caused her a nervous breakdown, and only a son – called Percy Florence Shelley, born in Florence in 1819 – survived. In the summer of 1822 they were staying at Lerici on the northwestern coast of Italy. Shelley had sailed to visit Lord Byron and another literary friend in Livorno, but during a storm on the return journey the boat sank and he was drowned. In 1823 Mary returned to England with her only son, Percy Florence. She devoted herself to his education and to publicising her husband’s works. In 1824 she published the poems he had written before his death, and in 1839 she produced the first edition of Shelley’s collected poems, which included long, informative notes written by her. She earned her living through writing, but never again wrote anything as successful as Frankenstein. Her several other novels include Valperga (1823), a romance set in 14th-century Italy, and The


Last Man (1836), set in the future, in which a plague destroys the human race and only one man is left among the ruins of Rome in the year 2100. She also wrote articles, biographies and short stories. Mary Shelley died of a brain tumour in 1851. 1 Comprehension check

Make brief notes about each of the following: 1 Her parents 2 Her education 3 Her age • when she ran away with Shelley • when she started writing Frankenstein • when she became a widow 4 When she died 5 Married life 6 Her children 7 What she did after her husband’s death 8 What she wrote after Frankenstein 2 Discussion

Look at the notes you made in activity 1. Which two of them did you find most surprising or interesting?

The Making of Frankenstein Lord Byron was the most famous poet of his day – and the most scandalous. His behaviour was fiercely criticised by the public when his wife left him after only one year of marriage, and he left England – permanently – in April 1816. His first stop was Switzerland, where in the summer Shelley, Mary and Jane Clairmont came to visit him. People called 1816 ‘the year without a summer’: we know now that the worldwide severe weather conditions that year were caused by


eruption of the volcano Mount Tambora in Indonesia. Almost constant rain forced Byron, Shelley, Mary, Jane and Byron’s doctor, John Polidori, to spend most of their time indoors. They entertained themselves by reading a collection of German ghost stories, Fantasmagoriana. When they got bored with this, Lord Byron suggested a competition: they should each write a frightening story. Jane didn’t respond to the challenge, but the other four spent the next days thinking of something to write about. Shelley started writing about an episode from his early life, but lost interest. Polidori had an idea involving a skull-headed lady, but did not develop it. Byron began a story about an aristocratic vampire, but gave it up; he published parts of it at the end of his poem Mazeppa. After the summer, Polidori developed the idea, and in 1819 he published The Vampyre, the first vampire story in English. In her introduction to the 1831 edition of Frankenstein, Mary says she had no inspiration for days, until she listened to Byron and Shelley talking about recent scientific experiments, including the 1783 experiment by the Italian Luigi Galvani (1737-98) in animating the legs of dead frogs with electricity. They went on to talk about how corpses might be animated and a creature made from body parts. She describes how that night, in a state between sleeping and waking, she had a vision of a “pale student … kneeling beside the thing he had put together … the hideous phantasm of a man”; in this kind of dream, she saw how “on the working of some powerful engine” the creature started to move. “What terrified me will terrify others” Mary thought, and next morning announced she had found the idea for her story. Her husband encouraged Mary to complete the story, and Frankenstein was published in 1818. It was an immediate success. The preface to this edition was written by her husband, and


The creature comes to life in this illustration from the 1831 edition of Frankenstein. The electrical machines included in later films are not present. Notice the unused body parts.

many people thought Percy Bysshe Shelley had written the novel itself. Mary, however, was soon recognised as the real author of Frankenstein, and




introduction to the 1831 edition of Frankenstein. 1 Comprehension check

Work in pairs or small groups and make up at least six questions to ask the class beginning with: Where






2 Discussion


On your own, decide which of the events of the summer of 1816 you found most surprising or interesting, and compare your choices in class.

2 Is there anything else you would like to know about Mary Shelley and/or the events of the summer of 1816? Make a list in class, then use reference books or the Internet to look for the answers.












Before you read 1 The alternative title

In the 18-th and 19-th centuries it was quite common to give novels alternative titles. Mary Shelley gave her novel the alternative title The Modern Prometheus. Read the following information about Prometheus. Prometheus in Greek myth was the son of one of the Titans, divine creatures who were defeated by a new set of gods, the Olympians, led by Zeus. Prometheus had intellectual powers (his name means ‘forethought’ in Greek) and was on the side of humans. In some stories he is the creator of the first man, who he makes from earth. In others, Zeus hides fire from humans but Prometheus steals it and brings it back. Zeus punishes him by tying him to rock where an eagle comes every day to eat his liver, which grows again every night, so his punishment is constantly repeated. A Why you think Mary Shelley chose this alternative title? B Do you think Prometheus is good (he gave fire to humans) or bad (he disobeyed the gods)? 2 The epigraph

An epigraph is a short quotation put at the beginning of a book or poem to suggest its theme. Mary Shelley chose some lines from the poem Paradise Lost (1667) by John Milton. The lines mean “Did I ask you to create me? No, you wanted to create me.” Why you think Mary Shelley chose this epigraph? Discuss your ideas, make a note of them, and check them as you read the story.


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